Becoming an accidental lightning rod

Few companies intentionally position themselves as a lightning rod for criticism. In most cases it just happens after a series of benign events takes on new meaning, with the benefit of public hindsight. Microsoft knows this situation all too well.

A decade ago Netscape was winning the browser wars. Using a combination of brutally efficient business tactics — providing Internet Explorer for free — and some aggressive positioning tactics — tying IE to the operating system — the browser went from being an afterthought for most users to completely dominating the Internet experience, though not without a few lawsuits against Microsoft along the way.

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